Chicago Shakespeare Theater Launches 25th Anniversary
Silver Jubilee Gala Raises Over $1.2 Million for Education Programs
Chicago―June 22, 2011― Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) launched its 25th Anniversary celebration on June 6, 2011, with the Silver Jubilee Gala at its home on Navy Pier. Five hundred of Chicago’s civic and cultural leaders attended the event benefiting the Regional Theatre Tony Award recipient’s far-reaching education and civic engagement programs. Through the leadership of Silver Jubilee Gala Lead Sponsor Exelon, the support of the 25th Anniversary Host Committee and the advocacy of CST’s Board of Directors, the Theater raised over $1,240,000 in support of its continuing commitment to students and teachers.
The Silver Jubilee Gala showcased Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s home on Navy Pier. Offering sweeping views of Chicago’s skyline, the Theater’s multi-level lobbies were transformed into enchanting dining spaces with silver-themed décor from Frost Lighting and fresh flower arrangements accented with theatrical flourishes by Bukiety. Adding a whimsical touch to the celebration, living installations of actors dressed in some of the Theater’s most remarkable costumes adorned the lobbies, entertaining guests and inspiring conversation.
Attendees enjoyed a sumptuous three-course dinner, sponsored by Food For Thought, which included a chilled strawberry-crimson beet soup and a duo of tenderloin and French chicken breast paired with wines courtesy of Van Duzer Vineyards. A white chocolate caramel gateau for dessert featured a unique 25th anniversary chocolate medallion designed especially for Chicago Shakespeare’s festivities.
Following dinner, guests gathered in CST’s Courtyard Theater for a one-night-only multimedia presentation looking back on a quarter-century of artistic achievement at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Featured performances included Tony Award winners Heather Headley and Michael Cerveris, in addition to CST veteran actors Kevin Gudahl, Ross Lehman , Greg Vinkler and Larry Yando. Headley garnered a Tony Award for performing the title role in Aida, and received a GRAMMY Award for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album for Audience of One. Cerveris, who won a Tony Award for his turn in Assassins, previously appeared in CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin’s Chicago Shakespeare production of A Little Night Music.
CST Board Member and former Chief Administrative Officer of Chicago Public Schools M. Hill Hammock partnered with a professional auctioneer to raise funds during a “Stand Up for Shakespeare” segment. Two winners received a 25th Anniversary Package, including a walk-on role at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and an inspirational trip to London for a private tour of the Globe Theater. Guests also pledged varying levels of direct support for CST’s Team Shakespeare education program.
Chicago Shakespeare inaugurated the “Spirit of Shakespeare Awards” at the Silver Jubilee Gala, honoring those who keep the spirit of Shakespeare alive through community service and artistic leadership. This year’s Civic Honorees were John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe, committed leaders in civic, education and cultural activities; and Artistic Honorees were Sir Peter Hall, founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Sir Derek Jacobi , internationally renowned stage and film actor.
The evening’s festivities concluded with a dessert reception courtesy of Phil Stefani Signature Events, where guests mingled with the performers and Spirit of Shakespeare Award recipients.
Alongside Silver Jubilee Gala Lead Sponsor Exelon, the 25th Anniversary Host Committee included Silver Jubilee Sponsors Abbott, Thomas F. Aichele (American Airlines), Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP, Brit and Marilyn Bartter (J.P. Morgan), Rita and John Canning, Ellen Costello and Michael Judge (Harris Bank), Harve A. Ferrill, Sonja and Conrad Fischer, Barbara and Richard Franke, Greg and Christa Gallopoulos (General Dynamics Corporation), Virginia and Gary Gerst, Ellen and Paul Gignilliat, Joseph A. Gregoire (PNC), Jan and Bill Jentes, Land O’Frost, Susan C. Levy (Jenner & Block LLP), Raymond and Judy McCaskey, Mark Ouweleen and Sarah Harding, Sheila Penrose and Ernie Mahaffey (Jones Lang LaSalle), Dushan and Nancy Petrovich (Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company), Richard Porter and Lydia Marti (Kirkland & Ellis LLP), J.B. and M.K. Pritzker, Glenn Richter (Nuveen Investments), Carole and Gordon Segal, David and Barbara Speer (Illinois Tool Works), Carl and Marilynn Thoma, Bill and Char Tomazin (KPMG), William Von Hoene, Jr. and Nikki Zollar (Exelon Corporation), Rick and Cate Waddell (Northern Trust) and United Airlines.
Celebrating its 25th Season, Chicago Shakespeare Theater is known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for intricate storytelling, musicality of language and depth of feeling for the human condition. The Silver Jubilee Gala benefitted the Theater’s Team Shakespeare education and civic engagement programs, one of the country’s largest arts-in-education theater programs offered by a professional theater. CST annually serves over 40,000 students and 1,500 educators from diverse backgrounds by producing world-class productions for student audiences (both at its home on Navy Pier and on a Midwest tour), an original abridged production by an ensemble of students and teachers from under-served communities, and a year-round intensive series of continuing education workshops for educators.
Exelon is Lead Sponsor of the Silver Jubilee Gala.
American Airlines is the official airline of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
ComEd is the official lighting design sponsor of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Programming in the Theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare is made possible through generous support from Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
Land O’Frost is a proud sponsor of the 2010/11 Subscription Series at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Mainstage artistic productions in the Courtyard Theater are supported, in part, through a generous leadership grant from the McCormick Foundation.